Battleground Europe: World War II Online (PC) Hands-On Preview

Developer: Cornered Rat Software Studios | Publisher: Matrix Games

Where else is there to go with the first person shooter? EA’s Battlefield series touched upon the Massively Multiplayer Online direction that first person shooters could go in; cooperative teamwork is a major part of winning. World War II Online takes the idea of the MMOFPS further by introducing a world where a constant war wages on – at all times of the day. Everyday you can check the home page of the World War II Online website, and a new article will be displayed about the progress of the Allies or Axis, and other somewhat historical events that happened in the game world.

Although it’s still in beta, Battleground Europe boasts hordes of different vehicles and occupations to take on and help the cause of your team. With so many different objects, cities, and towns, plus the ability to travel pretty much anywhere you want around the world (which spans over 354,000 square miles), Battleground Europe seems like it could be the best MMOFPS ever created. Though right now it certainly seems that it could achieve that title, the game is still in beta, and is far from complete.

While the game seems to be coming along according to plan, the graphics are very skimpy; textures barely represent what they’re really supposed to look like. There are also aspects of the gameplay that sorely need to be improved by the time the final product comes out. First of all, the swaying action of the arms and guns really need to be toned down. Subtle motions, even if they’re unrealistic, are generally better and less distracting to the eye. Currently it seems exaggerated rather than realistic.

When it comes to vehicles, it’s hard to understand how to really even use them. You can’t just push forward; you have to switch gears or something along those lines. I couldn’t figure it out, however, because there are no help files or instructions that I could find. I see it as needlessly complicated. You also can’t get out of the vehicle you are assigned to without despawning and respawning as whatever you want; you basically are who you spawn as and nothing more.

You have to rely on others to commandeer vehicles and weaponry on the vehicles to go to the different parts of the battle, otherwise you’ll be running for quite some time without seeing any action. I also couldn’t figure out how to look at the vehicle in third person, which would make driving a lot easier.

What Battleground Europe aims to accomplish is quite possibly its strong point. If the end product ends up being as good as it seems like it could be, Battleground Europe could quite possibly be the best FPS (based in World War II at least) to come out for quite some time, moving the genre into new regions. The game could definitely appeal to those that can’t get enough of FPS games, and have an interest in how MMOGs work.

One thought on “Battleground Europe: World War II Online (PC) Hands-On Preview”

  1. On the original article, comments from fans of the game became long winded and charged. I’ll post them here:

    User: Benj
    A few things: 1. You don’t appear to have screenshots from anything but offline practice mode? 2. Of course you have to use gears in vehicles, this is not BF2 it is a sim. 3. Of course you can’t get a 3rd person view, this is not BF2 it is a sim. 4. You seem to miss out the fact that the graphics are not incredibly detailed because they are visible from around 4km away.

    User: bgbopper
    I agree with Benj, all of the screenshots are from the offline practice mode and do not represent anymore than about 5% of the game at best. This reviewer surprisingly overlooked the fact that this game IS a sim, and much like driving simulators, you DO have to change gears when driving. In a simulator like this, seeing for 4km (which from what I understand is the longest viewing distance of any online game at the moment) is necessary, and if everything really did have the graphics of BF2, no modern machine would be able to run it, plain and simple. The game is about simulating war and immersion, and because of this it is in an entirely different category from BF2 and games of that sort in my eyes. You can’t view 3rd person because…well…can you click a button on your forehead that gets you to view your own body in 3rd person? I didn’t think so.

    User: Toddan
    Not only is it possible to see 4000 meter at the ground (or up to 8000 meter from 1500 meters altitude), and at the same time see +100 players. Besides such a little feature can you also hear infantry running around at a distance of 50 meter, or hear rifle firing at 400 meters. Engine sound from airplane, tanks and trucks is heard at several kilometers distance why you know at what direction they are. You can also hear heavy gun firing at several kilometers distance rolling over the hills. Features like this tolls the graphic, badly. Which other games can you see your enemy at 4000 meter? In which other game can you hear the enemy moving 50 meters away? And in what other game have both these two features. When reviewing a games graphic could it be good to understand how graphics works, and what limitations it gives. What has totally passed by the reviewer is that Battleground Europe: WWII Online is a WWII simulator. The arms sway is a realistic feature which perfectly represent what happens in real life. The longer you aim the more your arm sway. If you are tired from running guess what. The arm sway even more. The same goes for drivning tanks and planes. To drive a tank must you set in the gear. That sounds realistic to me. And if you overheat the engine will the engine brook down, just as in real life. Regarding bailing out. Since it is a WWII simulator would it make no sense if you was able to jump around as an infantry to vehicle to vehicle. That was not common practice during the WWII. That is a BF1942 feature, and that is a fantasygame with vehicles that looks like WWII vehicles, but remotely behave like a WWII vehicle.

    User: fgp123
    Battleground Europe is quite possibly the BEST PVP MMORPG you will ever play. That is a rather bold statement to make but I will try to elaborate. The game is set during the start of WWII, the map itself covers western Europe and is on a MASSIVE scale. IT is many many time bigger that Star Wars galaxies map and it is continuous, IE there is no “LOADING” or “DELAYS” when you enter an area. The map just rolls and rolls and rolls for miles, over flat terrains, valleys, cliffs and hill tops and unlike other MMORPG’s like SWG, the grass, bushes, houses, tress etc dont magicly POP UP 100 yards in front of you. The graphics range from good to very good, but are not bleeding edge (although they are constantly beeing updated and are gettyign more and more better each content patch) Everything in the game has to be renderd in its entirity, unlike most box games like HL2 that can cheat but not drawing full buldings if you dont have access to them. Every thing you see you can hide behind or use. You can see for 3-4 Km and thast ALOT of pollys to render, as well as the complex pysics engine. When you start the game you select a side to play for, either Allied (British and French) or Axis (Germany) with other countries like USA, Italy etc to be developed for the game soon. The map will start out with a rough 50/50 east west split with allied to the west and Axis to the east. Each side will use all the equipment available to them to attack and defend their way across the map, pushing the opposing side off the map. You have various infantry, tanks, anti tank guns, anti air guns, Scout cars, trucks, ships, fighters, bombers to battle with. As the war develops your side can develop newer and faster equipment. This is all player controlled, Nothing in the game in scripted, everything is controlled by the player base. There is just the 1 single server and everyone plays in it, it can hold thousands of players at the same time and each map (how long it take for one side to push back the other) can take many weeks or even months to complete. It’s like a real life battle. Each vehicle is historically modelled, and is controlled by a complex physics engine to give each unit its unique and historical performance. Also each vehicle is controlled by a complex damage model. Where most games have a hit point system (where each time you hit an object a set amount of points is taken away until the vehicle explodes) BGE uses a damage model that works like this. Your fire a shell, it hits a tank and a calculation takes place based on the shell type, size, thickness of armour on the tank at the point it hit, speed of shell and angle of impact. If this is enough to punch though it will, it will then bounce about inside the tank performing this calculation each time it hits something. Inside the tank are various components like Fuel, Ammo, Crew, Engine, Gear Box and if these are hit with enough power, they can break giving expected results. This works for everything form a rifle bullet, aircraft cannons and Tank Rounds. The result is the most realistic and in depth WWII battle game you will play. You can crew vehicles with multi positions with your friends, ride a truck driven by other players to battle, get your Anti Tank gun towed on the back of a truck to battle by other players. This game has some immense fighting and Battles of Biblical proportions, but having said that it’s not a spawn in frag fest. It’s for the player who wishes to be part of a world in which they can team up and execute battle plans. There is nothing better than grouping up with your fellow players and being part of a 25 tank armour column or a squadron of fighters on the way to give air support for an ongoing ground attack or a Bomber formation flying to take down the enemy’s factories so it slows down their research of new equipment. The game has a STEAP learning curve, you will need to bring a little patents with you as there is so much to the game to learn. Also for the new player death is a common foe, it will take time to become situational aware and learn to use cover and tactics. It has one of the best player bases I have ever seen in an online gaming community and the developers keep the player base up to date with weekly reports. Also the game has a content patch roughly every 6-8 weeks (sometimes a little longer) in which even more vehicles, effects and content are delivered. Obviously this game isn’t for everybody. If all you want to do is spawn in and frag 30 players in your first 10 seconds of play, this game may not be for you. But if you want the only true WWII experience with thousands of other players in a live single server with a world so vast it would take days to walk your character across, then this game is for you. The game has a efw minor issues that will get addressed over time, these range from simlpe things like grenades dont bounce, they explode on impact. This will change when they introduce server tracked objecst and not only will this alow bouncey nades but alot of other cool stuff too.

    User: davepoobond
    thanks for the long comments guys. But nowhere in the PREVIEW did I say it was BAD. So, while the added information can be helpful to those that read through it, my opinion still stands. You say its a “sim,” and you can’t push a button on your forehead to make it go into third person. Ok, fine, but we’re playing a game, and the game should deliver the best perspective as possible. I also read in another comment in the real world that people wouldn’t switch roles 30 times or however many times, but it isn’t conceivable to you that someone somewhere in some war dropped the gun they were holding and picked up another one? Or commandeered a mounted gun because the person who attended it was put out of action? A sim, yes, but its only a sim in the way it conducts certain aspects of the game, like the ever-involving world. Also, i will agree with the statement that this is probably not a game that you want to play just to hop in and kill people right away. I also have no problem with having to change gears in the game, what I have a problem with is finding out HOW to do it with no in-game help.

    User: davepoobond
    and the reason all of the shots were from the offline practice was because that’s the only way I could really do it without being killed all of a sudden or having something i didn’t want happen happen. Did you want to see other people on the map or something? The screenshots I took give enough of the feel of the game that is needed for a preview.

    User: eviscero
    This review (as well as its grammar) sucks. I would suggest playing the game first and withholding conclusions until after such. I mean, really…how can you write a review for a Massive Multiplayer Online Game without ever going ONLINE?? You cannot experience the true essence of this game until you hook up with a squad and roll on some huge fights. Better than 80% of the current community would be more than happy to walk new players thru the learning curve of this game. You just have to take the time to learn. If your looking for instant action then by all means go play BF2. However, if you are looking for a full scale combat simulator then this is the game for you….if you are capable of looking past its ‘skimpy’ graphics. You do a great disservice to WWIIOL gamers by posting such an incomplete & presumptious tale of one’s lazy gamers troll thru offline mode.

    User: VerTiGo3113
    This isn’t a review. Even if it is a simulation, this game doesn’t look too great.

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